A workshop with the master. And a festival!

IMG_6549 (1024x683)It almost escaped my attention that Sandor Katz was speaking at the Heritage Harvest Festival up at Monticello this past weekend.  Upon discovering this news, I immediately booked myself a spot in his morning workshop that was billed as a ‘premium workshop‘, meaning in addition to forking out money for a festival ticket, I shelled out money for the workshop as well.  I mention this because I pretty sure I haven’t paid to attend any sort of food or wine related event in a solid 15 years or so, with the last one I paid for also held up at Monticello – a canning and food preservation class (which yes, was THE class that began my canning odyssey), managing to get into all the events I’ve attended over the years for free. I found out later I probably could have finagled a free entry for this, but in the interest of karma, I figured it doesn’t hurt to actually pay for something once in a while. Continue reading

Fun with peppers.

Thanks to the generosity of friends, my off-site garden is planted heavily in peppers.  I bought a few plants, but then found myself being handed oodles of pepper plants from friends and neighbors and one anonymous donor* that had run out of room in their gardens for all the pepper plants they had started/bought. I seriously have about 40 pepper plants (having bought 6) down there, most of which are heirloom chile peppers, but there are a few sweet ones too.

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Last week a friend asked me what we’d been having for dinner recently.  “Squash” was my quick reply.  Between what the garden has been putting out and what friends have shared with us, we’ve had squash in some form or another for at least one meal a day since some time in July.  I keep snapping photos along the way, meaning to share recipes with you (and me, because I often use this blog as one of my many recipe storage sites), but I just haven’t gotten around to it, so here we are with one big squash post instead. Continue reading

So much for that plan.

IMG_5361 (853x1280)This past Saturday started out without much of a plan besides the current house reorganization Pat and I have been working on.  I slept gloriously, deliciously late (9 am!) and by the time I got up, got caffeinated and motivated,  the morning was definitely slipping by.  I thought twice about heading to the market that morning – Pat’s gone for the week, Edie’s still at camp, so it’s just me, which means I will only need a handful of tomatoes to eat in tomato sandwiches all week (and I just so happen to have them!).  I did have a hankering for some corn though, so I got myself dressed and headed down to the city market. Continue reading

Late July in the Gardens.

I feel like it’s been too long since I did a garden post.  The spring of two jobs and two gardens morphed into the summer of two jobs and two gardens plus assorted side projects and road trips, with the occasional looking after of neighbor’s gardens for three gardens and assorted responsibilities. I have moments where I strongly suspect I may have bitten off more than I can chew, followed by  moments of uber frustration with nature but then I have those little moments of zen that make it all worth while.

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Peach Pesto Feta Salad

The inspiration for this salad came from what I find to be the best inspiration – having a bunch of stuff in the fridge that needed to go and finding a way to use it all up. I had two white peaches that were on the verge of being over-ripe, a little bit of homemade pesto and the smallest little bit of Caromont Farm’s Feta (our new favorite cheese). I wanted a salad for dinner and thought about Jennifer Jo’s bruschetta, but all the tomatoes I had on hand could stand another day or two of sitting to further ripen (the result of picking them before the squirrels got them), so I poured myself a glass of wine and just started playing around in the kitchen.  Continue reading

A most glorious blueberry patch.

This week’s adventures involved no water fun – instead I opted to stay home and clean, which I know is sort of a head scratcher, but sometimes those time outs are necessary.  Not that having a clean house has ever been a priority for me, but since taking on a M-F part time office job in addition to everything else we always seem to have going on, I find the house has moved even farther down the priority list.  I despair of ever having a spotlessly clean house, but I did manage to get rid of piles and some mystery odors, so I felt rather productive and virtuous and for the first time in a good month, the den is hospitable again. Continue reading

My must-have ferments.

So, let’s talk fermenting, shall we?  It’s one of the oldest, if not THE oldest way of food preservation and is frequently touted as having loads of healthy benefits.  I’ve only recently – as in the last few years – started dabbling in it.  I have a sourdough starter, which technically is fermenting, and then I managed to get my hands on a kombucha scoby because Edie was on a kombucha kick, but it’s taken me some time to really wrap my head around the whole fermenting process.  For someone who only vaguely follows recipes, it seemed like the loosey goosey-ness of fermenting would be a solid fit, but I have to admit, it’s taken me a good bit of reading, attendance of several fermenting classes and trying my hand at it more than a few times to really feel like I got it. Continue reading